Honolulu, Hawaii, July 19, 1913
years before he became Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith,
Charles Mason Remey wrote this letter to a Bahá'í Assembly.
Power of the Covenant of God
An important matter before the world.
During my travels f the past few months I have found that while the problems of each assembly assume their own special character, there is but one vital question. This is that of firmness in The Center of the Covenant. Until this matter is solved no problems are solved; and when this matter is solved (when we are firm in The Covenant), all of our problems are solved.
When the members of an assembly are each and all firm in the Center of The Covenant, they are then organically united and the life of The Covenant is manifest in their midst -- thus the will and the desire of God may be accomplished. In no other way can it be done. We all must be firm in The Center of The Covenant, in the love of `Abdu'l-Bahá!
"The Root of all knowledge is the knowledge of God, Glory be to him, and this knowledge is impossible save through His Manifestation." -- Bahá'u'lláh
God has manifested Himself in this day, as in times past, that mankind shall be quickened and aroused from his human or natural condition of spiritual darkness into one of spiritual illumination or life eternal.
The spiritual, or divine life, of the soul is not a condition into which man can evolve by virtue of his human perfection. It is a condition into which he is born only through believing in, having faith in, and obeying the Manifestation of God sent unto him through the bounty of the Eternal One.
The divinely quickened soul has within it that element of spiritual or eternal life which is not found in natural or human man. This is the line of demarcation or differentiation between the kingdoms of man and the Kingdom of God.
In the mineral kingdom there is no physical life, while in the vegetable kingdom there is physical life. In the kingdom of natural or human man there is no divine or spiritual life, while in the spiritually quickened souls there is divine, spiritual or eternal life.
Eternal life or divine illumination is not spontaneously generated in the souls of Men. Man receives this new life directly form the Manifestation of God or the 'Word Revealed'.
The Manifestations of God have been the unique centers from which the world has received all knowledge of God, and outside of these divine channels no divine enlightenment has ever come to humanity. Therefore how necessary and important is it that in each prophetic day mankind should seek God's revealed Word, and abide there in centering their lives in the Manifestation of God.
Through each of the Divine Revelators of the past, God made the promise to man that during these latter days of the world He would establish his Divine Rule upon earth -- that He would fulfill His Covenant, and establish His Kingdom Triumphant among men.
In the coming of The Báb who was The First Point, Bahá'u'lláh who was The Pre-existent Root, and `Abdu'l-Bahá The Branch, Branched from The Pre-existent Root -- in this triple coming is realized the fulfillment of all of the Divine Promises of the past and the establishment of the Covenant of God.
As the life in the branch of the tree is the same as that in the root, so the Divine spirit manifest in `Abdu'l-Bahá -- The Branch -- is the same as that manifested in Bahá'u'lláh -- The Root -- `Abdu'l-Bahá has sacrificed all in The Path of Bahá'u'lláh, and now the Power of Bahá'u'lláh is manifesting to the world through `Abdu'l-Bahá. He is the Center of Guidance -- The Center of the Covenant; therefore all must turn wholly and without reserve unto him, for `Abdu'l-Bahá is The Chosen One, the unique channel through which the Power of God is being conveyed to each individual Bahá'í, as a member of God's Kingdom upon earth.
The believers may be compared to leaves upon the Branch. Through the branch, and through the branch only are the leaves nourished from the root of the tree. As the branch is the only intermediary between the leaves and the root, so `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Branch (for there is but one Living Branch, branched from Bahá'u'lláh, The Pre-existent Root), is the intermediary between the believer and the Pre-existent source of Divine Power which is Bahá'u'lláh.
As the Power and stability of the tree is due to its firm, organic connection with the root, so is the power and strength of `Abdu'l-Bahá the Power and Strength of God, because he is branched from the Pre-existent Divine Root of the Word of God manifested in Bahá'u'lláh. As the well-being of each leaf depends upon its firm and organic connection with the branch, so does the spiritual well-being of every Bahá'í depend upon his or her spiritual connection with The Branch, `Abdu'l-Bahá.
In storm and tempest, when the tree is shaken, those leaves that are alive in the branch remain upon the tree; while in those leaves in which the life of the branch is not -- the dead leaves -- these fall to the ground, having no life in them. When the unity and steadfastness of the Bahá'ís is tested, those who are strong in The Center of The Covenant, those in whose souls lives the Spirit of `Abdu'l-Bahá -- will remain firm and steadfast throughout all conditions, while those who are not firmly attached to The Branch will, with the first troubles, drop away from the Covenant. In this condition their station is a worse one than that of those who have never heard The Lord's Call."
This day is seeing great changes in the religious
thought of the world. Everywhere the natural world of man is being prepared
for the Kingdom of God.
In the springtime the ground is broken and prepared to received the seed, This preparation has to do with the mineral elements in which there is no life. When the seed is sown the elements of vegetation descend into the earth in which inorganic material grows the vegetable, an organic body against which the inorganic forces of the mineral kingdom have no avail. Although every force in the mineral kingdom is against the principle of vegetative life, yet notwithstanding this very opposition the vegetable lives, grows and dominates the mineral.
In like manner is every human condition of the natural man opposed to the life of the spiritual man. Before the Divine Messengers of God have sown the spiritual seeds of the Kingdom, the hearts of men, in which there were no elements of divine life, have through human trials and conditions been broken and prepared to receive God's Word. His Word has taken root and grown in the soil of the hearts of men while every element in the being of the natural or human man has been against the growth of the newly quickened spirit; yet it is because of this conflict that spiritual man has become strong and had dominion over the natural or human in man.
This natural human force against the religion of God has ever been the spirit of the Anti-Christ. Where the light is the brightest, the shadows are the blackest. In the day of each Manifestation, when God's Glory was manifest to illumine the hearts of men, those illumined souls who followed The Word have always been surrounded from without by the most subtle influences working upon them, to sever, if such were possible, their spiritual connection with the Channel of Divine Grace -- The Manifestation of God.
The spirit of Anti-Christ is the spirit of denial of the Word Manifest. The opposition of the mineral to the vegetable causes the vegetable to grow firm and strong, and the opposition of the forces of human man, the spirit of the Anti-Christ, cause the divinely quickened souls to grow strong and steadfast in The Kingdom.
In this day humanity as a whole is being prepared for the quickening of God's Kingdom. Creeds, dogmas and philosophies of the past are being broken and shattered and are without spiritual effect. The religious thought of the present world is like shifting sand. This world thought is against the growth of the Cause of God -- against the Bahá'í Cause -- for the religion of Bahá is not merely a Cause of God, it is THE Cause of God, outside of which there is no source of Truth in this world. It is The Divine Covenant and `Abdu'l-Bahá is the God-appointed Center of that Covenant.
The very fact that the Bahá'í Cause is the Essence of the Creation of the New Kingdom, places it, in kind, above all other forces at work in the world. It dominates all.
In general the human philosophy of man is this:
That by a natural process of evolution he evolves from a state of human
darkness into one of spiritual illumination. That he has inherently within
himself the spark of divine life itself, and this simultaneously develops
without the instrumentality of a prophet or Divine Revelator, and then
through his own virtues, man attains to God's Kingdom.
It is curious that in this age people still cling to such imaginations when history shows that each new civilization has had its birth in a new religion, and that each new religion has had its quickening power through a Prophet or a new Manifestation of the one Pre-existent Word of God.
Mankind has ever tried to create a way to Divine Grace through means other than those provided by God. It is recorded that at one time men tried to build a tower out of the materials of the earth in order to escape earthly conditions and arrive at heavenly conditions. Confusion fell upon them, and the affair ended in division and dispersion. We look back upon this story of the Tower of Babel and we see therein a vivid portrait of the spiritual condition of this world of the present day.
Before the mind of the world is the idea of the Millennial Age of Peace with all of its ideal institutions. Upon every hand institutions are being founded and carried n with the object in view of bringing about peace ideals. Instead of using spiritual means to achieve a spiritual end they are using material means! The divine institution of the Kingdom of God cannot be built with any other than spiritual means.
Regarding these mundane conditions which hold the world in a state of war, and trouble from which humanity cries out for freedom, `Abdu'l-Bahá has repeatedly said that there is but one power which shall prevail against them and that power is the power of The Covenant of God.
God has established His Kingdom. His Kingdom is the Bahá'í Cause. This is His Covenant. It is the stone which has been rejected by the people of the world, and now it has become the foundation of "Peace on earth," having its Center in The Center of the Covenant.
For many years `Abdu'l-Bahá has been imploring and calling the people to 'firmness and steadfastness in the Covenant and Testament,' which is firmness and steadfastness in The Center of The Covenant which is `Abdu'l-Bahá himself. The reason for this repeated call is now becoming apparent to the Bahá'ís, for upon this connection, `Abdu'l-Bahá, depends the well-being of the Cause.
Consider: With the physical body its well-being depends upon the perfect connection or unity of each of its organs with the heart from which the life forces are forthcoming. `Abdu'l-Bahá being the center of spiritual life in the world today, is the heart of the Kingdom of God -- the Bahá'í Cause -- so the spiritual well-being of the Cause (as well as of its individual members) depends upon the connection of all the various members with The Center of The Covenant, `Abdu'l-Bahá.
When an organ of the physical body is not in proper function with the heart, and does not receive nourishment through the blood, it ceases to function and dies. When a Bahá'í cuts himself off from `Abdu'l-Bahá, who is the source of his spiritual life, he dies spiritually and is no longer of the Kingdom. Therefore, it behooves all to keep in the closest of spiritual touch with `Abdu'l-Bahá, holding to his Word, obeying him in both the spirit and the letter, and never for one instant looking in any direction other than toward him -- the divinely appointed Center of The Covenant.
There are those individuals referred to as the nakazeen
who, after embracing God's Truth and associating themselves with His Cause,
have denied The Center of the Covenant and dropped away from the Power
of the Cause. They are as dead -- as spiritual corpses -- and from them
goes forth to the believers a poisonous infection from which the believers
must be protected lest they also become infected and in like manner fall
ill and die to the realities of God's Kingdom.
Consider: Whenever an organ of the body becomes diseased the whole body suffers -- the vital forces of the body flow to the ill member that it be resuscitated and again function normally. If, however, that organ becomes gangrenous or dies, and putrefaction sets in, it becomes necessary to use the surgeon's knife. Thus, even a diseased member must be cut off from the body else the whole body will die.
When a Bahá'í is suffering spiritually, all of the friends should surround that soul with love, showing kindness and attention upon it in order to bring it back again into close communion with `Abdu'l-Bahá -- for there is but one cause of spiritual disease among the Bahá'ís, and that is a state of instability in The Center of The Covenant.
But when a soul has wholly and completely severed himself from `Abdu'l-Bahá -- denied The Center of The Covenant, whether either openly by words, or subtly in his heart in secret, that soul is dead spiritually. It becomes a dead or gangrenous member of the body of The Cause. Its condition is infinitely more deplorable in this state than before it heard The Truth while it was yet in the human or the unquickened condition of the natural man. When a soul falls into such a state of violation of the Covenant, there is but one thing to do and that is for the friends to cut it off from the body of The Cause, for if the friends do not sever themselves from such an one they will themselves become infected by this deadly condition, and then the whole assemblage of the friends will become diseased.
In a recent Tablet The Center of The Covenant states: "Let them (the Bahá'ís) be awake! Let them be mindful! As soon as they see a trace of violation of The Covenant, they must hold aloof from the violators."
And again in another Tablet he says:
"Firmness in The Covenant means OBEDIENCE so that no one may say, 'this is my opinion,' nay rather he must obey that which proceeds from the Pen and Tongue of The Covenant."
We Bahá'ís are commanded to treat the opposer of The Cause as the friend, and to shower kindness upon those who persecute and cause trouble for the Bahá'ís. However, the condition of the opposer of The Covenant and the condition of the denier of The Covenant are wholly different. The opposer is one who has not yet been awakened to the Truth. He is outside of The Cause and can have no avail against it; whereas the denier is within the body of The Cause, and until he is taken out from the body of The Cause his diseased condition is infecting the whole body.
Physically a man has nothing to fear from poisons which are kept outside of his body. His danger lies when poisons enter into his body.
Imagine a family in which a death occurs. Although each of the survivors be in a state of perfect health; yet it is necessary to remove the corpse of the departed from the house, for with the putrefaction of the corpse the disease contagious would prevail and all would die.
We know that our beloved `Abdu'l-Bahá does not wish any soul to be deprived of the Bounties of the Kingdom, nevertheless when The Cause of God is at stake, the individual who is damaging The Cause must go. `Abdu'l-Bahá recently wrote: "Such souls are nothing but pure harm to The Cause of God, and it is very well that they go out, for the abominable deeds of such souls are like unto an axe at the root of The Cause."
It is one thing to be merely 'attracted' to the divine teachings of God's chosen revelator, and another thing to become so centered in his Chosen One as to sacrifice all in His Path. The first case is only to have one/s attention called to the bounties of the kingdom; the second is to know and to recognize The Center of Spiritual Guidance through, or from, which the knowledge of the Kingdom proceeds.
In the day of Jesus, the Christ, vast multitudes were attracted to Him and to His Cause, but of these there were but twelve men and a few women who believed to the point of recognizing in Him the Glory of God Manifest -- The Christ. This recognition was what quickened the souls of His Disciples and the early Fathers, and it was by this and by this alone that they were given the power to go forth and give Christ's Message to the world. The great Christian civilization (the bounties of which the people of the world are now enjoying) had its birth or main spring in the Revelation of Jesus, and its spiritual quickening in those who, like Peter, recognized whereas those souls who were merely attracted to Jesus and before really believing, slipped away from The Cause, played no part in the great organic growth of Christianity.
So it is again in this day of revelation. How many souls are attracted to `Abdu'l-Bahá? How many crowd to see him and to hear him; yet the real blessing is that of realizing in him The Center of God's Covenant.
From the following quotation from the 'Tablet of the Branch', revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, the importance of this matter will be clearly understood:
O, ye people! Draw nigh unto it The Branch (The Center of the Covenant, `Abdu'l-Bahá) and taste the fruits of its knowledge and wisdom on the part of The Mighty, the knowing One. Whosoever will not taste thereof shall be deprived of The Bounty, even though he hath partaken of all that is in the earth -- were ye of those who know. . . . Say, O people, praise ye God for its manifestation [The Branch] for verily The Branch [`Abdu'l-Bahá] is the most great power upon you, and the most perfect blessing upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whosoever turns unto Him hath surely turned unto God, and whosoever turneth away from Him hath turned away from My Beauty, denied My Proof, and is of those who transgress. Verily, He is the Remembrance of God amongst you, and His Trust within you, and His Manifestation unto you, and His appearance among the servants who are nigh. Thus have I been commanded to convey to you The Message of God, your Creator; and I have delivered unto you that of which I was commanded."
Following this and other similar commands revealed by Bahá'u'lláh the true and firm Bahá'ís have turned with implicit faith towards `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Branch, The Center of The Covenant, in whom they find their illumination, their guidance, their strength, their hope, their all.
THEREFORE, RECOGNIZING IN `ABDU'L-BAHÁ THE CENTER OF GOD'S COVENANT, IS, IN THIS DAY, THE ONE ALL-IMPORTANT MATTER BEFORE THE WORLD, FOR IN HIM IS THE POWER OF THE COVENANT OF GOD, WHICH ALONE IS TO REGENERATE MANKIND.
The difficulties and problems of an assembly will solve themselves when everyone concentrates their faith in The Center of The Covenant. Study "The Tablet of the Branch" and `Abdu'l-Bahá's address upon "The Covenant" given in New York City, June 19, 1912, and also his Tablet upon "The Covenant". These latter were published in Washington, D.C., in pamphlet form. They can be obtained by writing to the Washington assembly.
My love and greetings to all the friends.
Yours in The Center of The Covenant
Charles Mason Remey
Honolulu, Hawaii, July 19, 1913
Additions by Editor:
The following is the last paragraph from `Abdu'l-Bahá's
Will and Testament:
For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular convictions. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.
The following is a prayer from `Abdu'l-Bahá, that
I had written onto the inside cover of my Prayers and Meditations,
years ago, sans the source. As soon as the source is relocated this page
will be updated.
O our God! We beg of Thee, by the King of Names and maker of Heaven and Earth; by the rustling of the leaves of the Tree of Life and by Thine utterances through which the reality of Things are drawn unto us, to grant that Unity in the love of God may be speedily established throughout the world, that Thou will guide us always and unmistakably to whatsoever Thou wouldst have us do, and that we may ever be strong and fully prepared to render instant, exact and complete obedience.
Click here for detail information on the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith
MY BAHÁ'Í HOME PAGE
Created by Karen Jo Herman, November 15, 1998